Most people think that backups are there to protect your data from hardware failure. And that is true. You take backup in case the hardware your data is sitting on fails (I should say WHEN the hardware your data is sitting on fail). But backups are useful in other times too. Backups are a very valuable tool in your overall site security.
If your WordPress site ever gets hacked, it may be easier to just start over fresh from a backup. Hackers rarely just do “one” thing to your website once it has been compromised. They most likely didn’t hack your site just to change the front page. The probably uploaded malware that will infect your users. And they also probably put in a few hidden back doors so they can gain access after you remove the malware they installed the first time. An experienced security expert can go through all the code and remove the corrupted files, any malware, and the backdoors in place. But that takes time and money. Having a clean backup means you can simply erase everything and set the site back up somewhere else – hopefully with better security.
I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen someone post to a forum that their WordPress blog broke after this update or that plugin was installed. Some of these can be easy enough to troubleshoot. Some can not. Rolling back your WordPress to an older version because the theme or plugin you depend on doesn’t work with it yet can be a very painful and expensive process. A backup can make it extremely easy – often times just a couple of clicks.
And just like incompatible software, people deleting files, posts, or their WordPress database by accident is another use for backups. In my experience, restore jobs due to human error outnumber all other reasons to restore data.
Now you are probably saying “My host takes backups of my site. If I need something restored, I will just contact them.” That’s fine as long as you realize they are handling hundreds of requests a day, and yours may not be a very high priority.
But there is also the possibility that your hosting company may become the problem. Perhaps an unscrupulous rival contacts your host and accuses you of illegal or illicit behavior. Or maybe you are like my friend from a previous post and your site was hacked and now violates the host’s Terms of Service. Now your account will be suspended – and all your sites taken down – while they investigate.
And it may be that you don’t have to do anything. They may look into your sites and see that everything is okay and reactivate your account. Or you may have to prove to them that your sites are not. Or if they were hacked, you have to prove that is the case.
All the while you sites are down. And if you are using your WordPress sites to make money, that means you are losing money while this is happening. Having a backup offsite means you can bring the sites back up on a new host, redirect the domain, and BAM, you’re back in business.
A lot of people get into Internet Marketing and don’t think about it like a business. Businesses ask hard questions and spend money protecting resources. They get training on basic security and they pay for quality backups.
P.S. While you should learn basic security principles, somethings are better left to professionals. Let me and my 20+ years of experience maintain your blog. Just click here to sign up for our WordPress monthly maintenance program.